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Verstappen Dominant In Austria To Go 81 Points Clear

  • 4 min read

Max Verstappen won Red Bull’s home Austrian Grand Prix from pole position and with the fastest lap on Sunday as the Formula One champions celebrated a 10th successive victory and ninth of the season.

Verstappen, who also won Saturday’s 100km sprint race and leaves Spielberg’s Red Bull Ring with a maximum haul, stretched his lead over Mexican team mate Sergio Perez to 81 points with his fifth win in a row.

It was also the Dutch driver’s seventh win of a dominant campaign accelerating him ever closer to a third Formula One crown.

Charles Leclerc was second, 5.155 adrift, for Ferrari’s milestone 800th podium while Perez fought from 15th at the start to third in a race littered with time penalties as drivers repeatedly exceeded track limits.

“Amazing race, the car was on fire today,” said Verstappen after his 42nd career win took him above the tally of late Brazilian great Ayrton Senna.

It was also his fifth success at the Red Bull Ring, more than any driver and in the first race in Austria since the death of team owner Dietrich Mateschitz last October.

“I’m just enjoying the moment driving this car and working with this team. The Sprint weekend is always hectic and a lot of things can go wrong but luckily a lot of things went right,” said Verstappen.

It was still not a perfect afternoon for the 25-year-old, with his phenomenal run of 249 successive race laps led ending on lap 26 when he pitted and Leclerc took over.

Verstappen hit the front again on lap 35 of 71 and pulled away, having so much time in the bag that he pitted on the penultimate lap for soft tyres to seize the fastest lap bonus point from Perez.

Carlos Sainz was fourth for Ferrari, with Lando Norris fifth in an upgraded McLaren and Fernando Alonso sixth for Aston Martin.

Seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton was seventh for Mercedes, with team mate George Russell eighth, and Pierre Gasly was ninth for Alpine. Lance Stroll took the final point for Aston Martin.


Hamilton was one of a string of drivers shown a black and white warning flag for going beyond the white lines with all four wheels, collecting a five second penalty.

“I can’t keep it on the track, the car won’t turn,” Hamilton, who passed Norris for fourth at the start to slot in behind the Ferraris, told his team.

Sainz and Gasly also collected penalties, along with Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, Williams’ Alex Albon and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda.

The drivers made sure the stewards were kept busy by pointing out over the radio whenever they saw a rival exceeding the limits.

“Perez completely off at turn 10, has he got a penalty yet?,” enquired Hamilton after getting his penalty. “If they’re dishing these things out they might as well know.”

Leclerc tried and failed to pass Verstappen at the start, with the safety car deployed after Tsunoda and Ocon collided and the field led through the pit lane as marshals cleared debris.

Nico Hulkenberg’s retirement on lap 14 triggered a virtual safety car, the German pulling over in his smoking Haas, and a flurry of pitstops but Verstappen and Perez stayed out.

Verstappen dropped to third after his eventual first stop but he despatched Sainz quickly and then slashed the seven second gap to Leclerc, timing his pass to perfection to prevent the Monegasque from hitting back with DRS.

A minute’s silence was held before the start in respect for 18-year-old Dutch driver Dilano van’t Hoff who died in a junior series race at Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps circuit on Saturday.